Breaux Bridge and Grand Coteau are two of eight new Cultural Districts approved by Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Now sales of original artwork are exempt from state sales tax and certain properties can apply for historic tax credits.
In 2007 the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 298 which created the Louisiana Cultural Districts Program. The goal of the program is to promote economic gains by tax incentives and to prompt revitalization of historic areas for both preservation and tourism. As of 2011 there are 59 cultural districts in Louisiana in 24 parishes across the state. Areas get this designation by applying to the program. By accepting a Cultural District designation each area must annually report its gains and growth to the Legislature in a formal, written report and to the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
Cultural Districts use the tax exemption as a great incentive to increase tourism to its area overall and generally see a marked increases in sales. Businesses and property owners of older buildings in Cultural Districts are able to use tax credits to breathe new life into the buildings, structures which are not only catch the eye of tourists but helps to maintain tangible examples of Louisiana history for both tourists and locals alike.
The six other areas to become Cultural Districts in 2011 are the Highland Community in Shreveport, Denham Springs, Donaldsonville, downtown DeRidder, Ascension Parish and Old South Baton Rouge.
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